Congratulations, you want to move to Mount Desert Island. Whether it’s a new job in the area, the idea of being near Acadia National Park, or any number of other reasons, we’re happy you’re considering living here year round.

If you’ve begun to look for housing, chances are you’ve seen it’s not as straight forward as you’d expect, especially if you are looking between May and October. Here are some places to get you started.

Note: this guide concentrates on rentals versus purchasing a home. 

Look at surrounding towns, not just Bar Harbor.
Have your heart set on living in downtown Bar Harbor for $500/month? Well then, I have a unicorn I want to sell you.. 🙂

Kidding aside, sometimes we have to manage our expectations for our budgets. One way to do this is to look in surrounding towns like Southwest Harbor, Bass Harbor, Trenton, Lamoine, etc. (If your heart is set on Bar Harbor, the Town Hill area of Bar Harbor tends to be a bit more affordable than the downtown area.)

Be flexible. 
If you are a non-smoking professional with no pets who can move in at the end of October, that makes you infinitely more attractive than having the opposite qualities. You can use a long term rental as a stop gap if you have to move here in July but your new place won’t be ready until September 1.

Use rental agencies.
The only rental agency we know about that does year round rentals exclusively in this area is Acadia Coast to Coast. Other rental agencies do winter rentals (meaning October through April) . Depending on when you are looking or for how long a period you are looking, a winter rental may be fine, or at least buy you some time. Rental agencies may be independent or be a division of a local real estate agency.

Work your social network.
Two useful Facebook pages come to mind when looking for rentals: Bar Harbor Barter and Swap and MDI Rental Resource. (Note: it can be hard to get into BHBS so if you don’t get in, don’t be hurt.) Additionally, if you have a friend that works at the Jackson Laboratory, ask them to forward you the rentals section of their internal listserv. You can also use good ol’ fashioned Craigslist.

Get some local references. 
Like any small community, having a least one person locally who is well liked who will vouch for you is very helpful. They also may have a lead or two that you won’t find online.

Check utilities.
If some place looks awesome, check if you can get cell phone service there or if there is high speed internet, if those are dealbreakers. (Note there are cell phone boosters, land lines, and coworking spaces to help you deal but it’s always best to know ahead of time what you’re getting into.) We’ve heard of multiple people *buying* houses only to learn they could not have the utilities they wanted there. You can call the local internet providers and see what services are available at the address and check out cell coverage maps to get a general idea if this will be an issue.

Moving to MDI (for most people) makes their life infinitely better. If you’ve moved to Mount Desert Island and have some additional tips, I hope you’ll leave them as a comment on this blog.

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